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McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Maxton, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Yardley, B.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Puttnam, L.
Quin, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Finsbury, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Snape, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Triesman, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Vadera, B.
Wall of New Barnet, B.
Warner, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
West of Spithead, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendments agreed to accordingly.

7.06 pm

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 78.

As noble Lords will know, the Bill, as originally drafted and approved in this House, called for the first chair of the board to be a lay person—someone who has never been a lawyer under the definition in paragraph 2(4) of Schedule 1. The Government’s rationale for that was informed in large part by the observations made by Sir David Clementi in his report. He made it quite clear that the current system is flawed and that consumers cannot have confidence in a system where the same people who represent the views of the legal profession are also regulating the profession. Requiring the first chairman to be lay ensures that the oversight of the new regime is spearheaded by someone who is not tied up with the profession and can take an independent and fresh look at how that regulation should be achieved.

Questions, however, were asked in the other place about why only the first chairman should be subject to this requirement, and there were persuasive arguments about why all chairs of the board should be lay. There has been a lack of consumer confidence in the way that some complaints against lawyers have been handled. I know, as Members of your Lordships' House know, that the great majority of lawyers do a thoroughly good and professional job. They should have nothing to fear from a lay chair, and they will benefit from the enhanced consumer confidence that this brings.

Having considered very carefully the arguments put forward both in the other place and by consumer bodies, and having taken into account the largely neutral views of the legal professions, the Government supported an amendment in the other place that all chairs of the board should be lay. We

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think that that sends the right signal, but I stress that it does not mean that the views of the profession will be ignored. The Bill provides for a board made up of both professional and lay members to ensure that all sides are represented by the best people for the job. That seems to me exactly the right balance. Professional members can represent up to half the board’s constitution. Having carefully considered the overall balance and having listened to the views of Members in the other place, we think that the provision that the chair should always be lay is right. I beg to move.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 78.—(Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.)

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I am not going to take this issue to the wire, partly because I know that I would not have the support of the Liberal Democrats but also because I see where the Government are coming from. However, I think that before they arrived, they took the wrong turning. The issue is not whether the board ought or ought not to have a lay chairman or a lawyer; the issue is how that person is selected. I entirely agree that if the legal profession played a role in selecting members of the Legal Services Board, there would be a serious question mark against a legislative proposal of that sort. However, to link what we are talking about now with the previous vote, we are suggesting that the judiciary are something quite different from the legal profession; and their involvement, far from being something that would undermine the independence of the board, would cement its independence. The notion that a lay chairman would make the board more independent is misplaced; what would make the board independent is that it is selected by an amalgamation of a Minister and a judge.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: My Lords, I hear what my noble friend said but I still seek a little clarification. I shall be brief. I declare an interest; although I have no intention of applying for a position chairing the board, my position may illustrate some of the problems. I qualified for the Bar very many years ago, in 1969. I practised intermittently during the 1970s and ceased when I first chaired a Select Committee in the other place, and I really have had no contact with the Bar, save for social purposes, for over 25 years. The assumption of the amendment in the other place is surely that somehow as a result I am tainted and cannot give an objective position.

Certainly, the populist view against lawyers—although I did find it in the other place—is not something that I found reflected very widely when I was in the other place for 30 years. It is as if, by having qualified at some stage, however long one has remained away from the Bar, one is somehow tainted and cannot expunge from one’s record what was a minor offence many years ago. Like a minor shoplifting offence, it is impossible to erase or expunge and therefore one’s judgment necessarily cannot be objective. I have no personal interest or

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motive in seeking to chair this body, but I ask my noble friend to go a little along this way. Is it reasonable or is it just a populist revulsion to say that those who for many years have had no contact with the legal profession are still deemed for this purpose to be professional and are therefore excluded from consideration for the chair?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I hear what my noble friend says. He certainly put the point with great clarity. I also hear what the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, says, and I agree with him that in the end what is important is how the board goes about its business. He also said that if the amendment that has just been passed were to stay in the Bill, that in itself would provide more confidence in the independence of the judiciary. I understand that, although I disagree with him, because I believe that the balance that we had on consultation was right.

This was a House of Commons view which is clearly supported by many Members in the other place. The Government would not wish to cast any aspersions whatever on a person who has previously practised the law or is a current practitioner of the law and say that they could not make a fine contribution as the chair. Ultimately, however, the other place has come to a view that, to ensure public confidence, it would wish the chair of the board to be lay always and for all time. There is very little that I can add to that.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

7.15 pm

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 79.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 79.—(Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.)

Lord Kingsland rose to move, as an amendment to the Motion that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 79, Amendment No. 79A.

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I want to respond to what I think was said in my support, at least I read it as such, by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, about how long it takes before the taint—I quote him, I do not accept it as a fact—of being a barrister or a solicitor is expunged to convert that professional person into a lay member. I respectfully submit that the period of 10 years that we suggest is quite sufficient.

I was trying to think before we started today about an example of someone who we know very well, who qualified as a solicitor but went on to do other things, and whether that person might be suitable to be a member of the Legal Services Board. My analysis settled on the noble Lord, Lord Jones of Birmingham.

17 Oct 2007 : Column 759

I am told that the noble Lord started off his professional career as a solicitor, but left it behind long ago for lusher pastures. Do we not think that the offence of being a lawyer has by now been expunged by the noble Lord, Lord Jones of Birmingham; and that he would be a most suitable candidate, if his name was advanced, to be a member of the Legal Services Board? I beg to move.

Moved, as an amendment to the Motion that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 79, Amendment No. 79A.—(Lord Kingsland.)

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, it is very tempting to debate the noble Lord, Lord Jones of Birmingham, particularly as I was not allowed to call myself Lord Hunt of Birmingham, and I never quite discovered how he got away with it. Equally, he was born in Kings Heath, and his final sin is that he supports Aston Villa rather than Birmingham City. Apart from that, he is a jolly good chap. I am sure that if he needed further work, he would have made a very good chair.

I have answered the point already. I understand the noble Lord’s point, which I believe was discussed sympathetically in your Lordships’ House, but Members in another place took a different view. They took the view that because of the importance of the Legal Services Board and the importance of having public confidence in it, it would be better if the lay chair had been lay for all time. That is the matter in a nutshell.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, the noble Lord knows full well that the lateness of the hour prevents me pressing this matter any further. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment No. 79A, as an amendment to Amendment No. 79, by leave, withdrawn.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

“( ) granted a certificate issued by the Institute of Legal Executives authorising the person to practise as a legal executive;( ) a registered patent attorney, within the meaning given by section 275(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (c. 48);( ) a registered trade mark attorney, within the meaning of the Trade Marks Act 1994 (c. 26);”

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 80.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.



17 Oct 2007 : Column 760

(a) the Lord Chief Justice, and(b) if the ordinary member is not the chairman, the chairman.”

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 81 to 88.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 81 to 88.—(Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.)

Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, surely the noble Lord is not pressing amendments that have been defeated in principle?

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I need to move them, and then the noble Lord, Lord Neill, moves Amendments Nos. 81A to 88A, and we will regularise the position. I am advised that that is the best course of action to take.

Noble Lords: He is not here.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I am sure that another noble Lord can move the amendments on his behalf.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, on behalf of the noble Lord, Lord Neill of Bladen, I beg to move, as an amendment to the Motion that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 81 to 88, leave out “agree” and insert “disagree”.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

On Question, Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 89 to 202.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.



17 Oct 2007 : Column 761

(a) solicitor services, or(b) solicitor services and other relevant legal services.(a) solicitor services, and(b) where authorised persons other than solicitors or registered European lawyers are managers or employees of, or have an interest in, a recognised body, services of the kind provided by individuals practising as such authorised persons (whether or not those services involve the carrying on of reserved legal activities within the meaning of the Legal Services Act 2007).

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 203 to 214. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 221, 231, 235, 250, 252, 253 and 256.

These are amendments to Schedule 16 to allow the Law Society to regulate limited forms of ABSs before Part 5 has been commenced. The amendments attracted much support in the other place and I hope they will prove equally popular in your Lordships’ House. We have worked very closely with the Law Society on these amendments and will continue to work closely with it. I am very grateful to the Law Society for its help in this matter.

We are also working closely with other regulatory bodies such as the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents and the Institute for Trade Mark Attorneys to ensure that they have rules in place for regulating LDPs as soon as is practicable. We fully recognise the benefits to both consumers and the professions of allowing limited forms of ABSs, subject to stringent restrictions and safeguards, to emerge in advance of Part 5. Beyond that, noble Lords had argued for a stepped approach to Part 5. The arguments had great force and these amendments are intended in part as recognition of their force. I beg to move.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 203 to 214.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

(a) ”

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 215 to 265.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

EU: Mental Health (EUC Report)

7.23 pm

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood rose to move that this House takes note of the report of the European Union Committee, Improving the Mental Health of the Population: Can the European Union help? (14th Report, HL Paper 73).



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The noble Baroness said: My Lords, in January 2005 a conference of European health Ministers, convened at Helsinki by the World Health Organisation, issued a declaration acknowledging the fundamental importance of mental health and well-being to the quality of life and economic productivity of both families and nations. The European Commission was asked to support the WHO’s initiative and, in October 2005, published a Green Paper, Promoting the Mental Health of the Population:Towards a Strategy on Mental Health for the European Union. This report is the Select Committee’s response to that consultation.

At the start, Sub-Committee G, which handled the inquiry on behalf of the Select Committee, was apprehensive about the task ahead. Written evidence seemed to suggest a wide role for the EU, whereas we were concerned to ensure that the role of member states, as the sole authority for health care delivery within their borders, was not overlooked. Members also felt a certain hesitation at taking on a subject matter as complicated as mental health and its treatment. However, once we started to take evidence, we realised, first, that the Commission was fully aware of the issue of subsidiarity and, secondly, that the European Union did have an acceptable basis for playing its part in improving the mental health of the population.

The background to the Commission’s consultation paper is the magnitude of the problem of mental health, or lack of mental well-being, across Europe. According to work published by independent researchers in the respected journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, about one in four adult Europeans suffers from some form of mental ill health in any one year. In this context, it is important to understand that mental ill health can range from such things as stress or depression—sometimes referred to as loss of mental well-being—to the most serious disorders requiring prolonged treatment in hospital or in the community. The costs arising from such a heavy incidence of ill health include the suicides of some 58,000 EU citizens every year and heavy economic costs relating to loss of output, the costs of medical care and a monetary valuation of the intangible human costs of disability, suffering and stress. The Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health has estimated that these costs amount to £77 billion per annum in the UK, notwithstanding that the UK has a lesser incidence of mental illness than some other EU member states.


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